Industrial metrology, or the internal inspection of metal parts in manufacturing, is an essential piece of quality control and important for preventing dangerous accidents. Unfortunately, the traditional testing process of taking internal measurements and locating weaknesses often destroys the part altogether.
In recent years, there has been a move to utilize medical equipment– that take internal measurements of humans without harming them– to get these critical specs on industrial parts. Not only is an internal image of the piece created while preserving the part, using medical equipment for industrial metrology cuts product inspection costs by 25-75% when compared to traditional technology. Here are a few ways that medical equipment are used in manufacturing inspections:
- Industrial CT Scanning
Like its medical counterpart, an industrial CT scanner is used to take hundreds of digital x-ray images that are put together to create a radial, 360 degree image of the part being tested. CT scanning parts holds a variety of purposes, including porosity measurement that would identify weaknesses, failure analysis, wall thickness analysis, and for reverse engineering.
One great opportunity that CT scanning offers the industrial testing market is fiber analysis. After the CT scanning is complete, a small piece of the image is inspected in-depth to create a gray scale fiber analysis of the exact composite of the part. The results of the small fiber analysis can be used to estimate the fiber density in the sample area.
- 2D Industrial X-Ray and Digital Radiography
2D x-rays are used to create a cross section or pan view image of the internal workings of the part. A full cross section scan is created by taking a succession of 2D cross sectional images, so that the manufacturer can see a 360 degree view of the inside of the part, slice by slice. A pan view 2D image is a single, composite image if the inside of a part, as if it was opened up and spread flat into one view. Both cross sectional images and pan view give the manufacturer a complete image of the entire function of the inside of the part.
- Internal 3D X-Rays
Internal 3D x-rays are fairly simple technologically, but serve a great purpose in the industrial market. Using 2D x-ray technology, the part is scanned in every angle while it is actively cycling, and put together to create a 3D video of the internal movement of the part while it is on. This can be used for quality control, and for reverse engineering the part.
- 3D Laser Scanning Services
3D laser scanners are used to create an external image of the part for precise measurements and analysis. Some of the uses of 3D laser scanners include first article inspections in which a prototype is vetted before going into production, part to part inspections where two parts are compared to ensure consistency, and part to CAD inspections in which deviation is measured between the CAD plan and the actual part.